Edward T. Dell Jr. — Remembering an Audiophile’s Editor/Publisher

Ed_Dell_2009
Edward T. Dell Jr. (2009 photo courtesy Chad Dell)

Audio editor and publisher Edward T. Dell Jr. passed on last week, not long after celebrating his 90th birthday with his family and friends, including many from his local parish, All Saints’ Church, in Peterborough, NH. His funeral will take place at 11AM on Saturday, March 9, at All Saints Church.

Ed was born February 12, 1923, and died February 25, 2013. He was very well known among audiophiles, having published thousands of their articles in his various audio-related publications — The Audio Amateur (TAA), AudioXpress, Audio Electronics, Speaker Builder, and Glass Audio. These audio publications began back in 1970 with TAA, in Swarthmore, PA. Later on Ed moved his Audio Amateur, Inc. operations to Peterborough, NH. He was recognized by the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce in 2010 as one of their “Legends of Business: Publishing Pioneers”.

Over the past 40 years, I was fortunate to write many articles for Ed’s various magazines, beginning in TAA issue 2/1973. That was the start of a long and fruitful relationship. Ed Dell was a pleasure to work with on those articles. Today, this is a satisfying thing to me, knowing that many of them are here as web versions, hopefully useful for some time yet.

It is difficult to write a concise summary of a person’s work spanning more than four decades, and capture the essence in a couple of sentences. Shortly after learning of Ed’s passing, I exchanged some emails with fellow author Jan Didden, on the influence of Ed’s work.  I said this to Jan:  “Ed Dell certainly did leave large footprints along the path towards better audio, especially our DIY audio, where he was really the one who did the most. He was simply a great enabler for folks like you and me.”

Well, I think that’s a true statement centered on Ed’s greatest contribution; he enabled and encouraged many people to tell stories of their audio designs, especially with home built equipment. Yes, he was also a great editor, and one learned lots of useful insights on audio technical writing working with him.  But the combination of a skillful editor sharing your own objective of making better audio working on your articles was, to me at least, a most invaluable thing. I’m sure that many other authors feel the same way. Ed’s love of audio was the same as mine, and this was perceived mutually!

In 2011 Ed Dell sold his publishing assets to the Elektor group, which today publishes audioXpress. They recently published an online memorial, Edward T. Dell, Jr.: In Memoriam.

Jan Didden interviewed Ed Dell for the pages of audioXpress in October of 2011, and has kindly made this available on the web. Jan has also started an “Ed Dell memorial” thread on DIYAudio, which can be found here. Understandably, one can find many comments there underscoring the value of Ed Dell’s audio efforts. Waltsblog readers can also leave comments here as well, should they wish (just register first). I especially want to encourage any of Ed’s many authors over the years to do so.

Our audiophile editor/publisher friend Ed Dell deserves honor for all the good work he did for so many years. He’ll be missed here, as well I’m sure in many other places populated by audio nuts. He has left truly a great tangible legacy within all those audiophile magazines, for forty-plus years. So, I’d advise you to hang onto them!

Condolences to Ed’s family on their loss. And, thanks to son Chad Dell, who helped with several details of this memorial.

Thank you so much for everything, Ed.

Walt Jung

2 thoughts on “Edward T. Dell Jr. — Remembering an Audiophile’s Editor/Publisher”

  1. Walt, thank you very much for this memorial. I think both of us owe Ed a lot, and in fact it was through Audio Amateur that we met as well.

    For me, one important part of Ed’s character was his untiring promotion of doing things with your own hands, to build things yourself. Ed was convinced that this would give people (often much-needed) self confidence and self-respect. I received a small booklet from him when I last visited him in 2009 which contained his early editorials in TAA and it is a recurrent theme.

    I believe his message is still as important today as it was 40+ years ago.

    Through the years, Ed became a dear friend and I will very much miss him.

    Jan Didden
    Linear Audio